Big Issue Vendor

This campaign is fighting to make Housing First a mainstay across Europe

The European End Street Homelessness Campaign has moved 350 previously homeless people into permanent accommodation across the continent so far

The UK may still be trapped in Brexit hell but it is still a key part of a continent-wide bid to tackle homelessness.

World Habitat’s European End Street Homelessness Campaign kicked off in 2015 to bring together organisations in cities across Europe so that they can work together to tackle homelessness more effectively.

Since then, the group’s impact report, released Tuesday, has revealed that almost 350 people have moved from the street into permanent accommodation across 12 cities.

Housing First (HF) remains central to the campaign, which was inspired by the use of Housing First in the USA and Finland, with 163 independent units found so far.

That includes 95 HF units in Barcelona enabling more than 200 homeless people to receive support alongside a home while HF was also the blueprint for a service in Valencia and nationally across Spain where campaigners have worked with Pedro Sánchez to develop homelessness initiatives.


The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

Luis Carlos Perea, campaign partner at social exclusion non-profit RAIS Fundación in Valencia, said: “We thought the campaign clearly connected with us as an organisation through an approach based on transformation, change and citizen mobilisation aimed at learning more about the reality of homelessness and about homeless people, linked to an effort to change the system.”

Away from Spain, the group have also developed the first modular housing project for homeless people in Brussels – but their influence has been felt across the UK.

The European End Street Homelessness Campaign’s feasibility study was key in greenlighting a £500,000 HF service in Torbay while they also helped develop Leicester’s first Homelessness Charter.

But David Ireland, chief executive of World Habitat, has admitted that although progress has been difficult to achieve, the group are on the path to ending street homelessness.

“Safe and secure housing is a human right and street homelessness is the most extreme form of housing exclusion. We started this campaign to stop ‘managing’ street homelessness and start the process to end it.

“Already we’re seeing really positive outcomes and ways of working that could be transferred to other cities. Progress may be frustratingly slow for many, but the first hurdles are so often the hardest to overcome.

“And this campaign will keep pushing until street homelessness is ended, and the most vulnerable people in our communities are provided with a home with which to start living to their full potential again.”